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There was a time in Mumbai when you could have commuted back to home past midnight, all alone. Mumbai was hailed as the ‘city for women’. Women could work, they could dress up as they wanted, they could live alone, travel alone, and yet be safe. But things have come a long way from back then.

It is sad that the New Year has kicked off on this note in Mumbai. On the Eve of New Year, two girls were groped and molested by an 80-strong crowd in Mumbai. The incident took place when the girls, accompanied by two male friends, ventured out of a 5-star hotel at Juhu. They were walking towards the beach when a mob started following them. Initially they were harassed with catcalls and lewd comments. And the incident took on a dirty face when the mob actually groped and molested the victims for 15-20 minutes, as their male friends watched helplessly.

A similar incident had taken place exactly a year ago in Mumbai. A girl was molested by a mob of the New Year celebrators at the Gateway of India. And we have all heard of the occasional rape! Catcalls have not traditionally been a part of the Mumbai culture, but they are steadily on the rise. On the whole, crimes against women have been on the rise in the city.

In such a scenario, can we really trust the police to provide us with any protection? Or should we accept this as our fate, and maintain decent hours always. Should we always get back home before it gets dark; and if going out later, be accompanied by a male? (Even that doesn’t always work, as this incident has proved.)

The need of the hour is to learn some techniques of self defense. It is very important for all women to learn some form of martial arts. We strongly feel that martial arts should be made compulsory for all school going girls. It is very important that Mumbai retains its ‘safe for women’ status. We implore everyone, men and women alike, to help in whatever way they can.


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Shalini

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